Lemon Couscous Spring Chicken In a Pot- and of goodbyes and new beginnings!

Chicken in a pot

spring

Spring has very loudly announced her presence for a while now, around here. Little shoots poke out from the ground and buds burst open into a riot of colours. Tree branches that had nothing more than barren twigs, are covered with pink petaled flowers almost overnight.

I made a trip to our beautiful farmer's market here in Marin along with friends Patty and Gina recently, and we were greeted by piles and piles of bountiful produce, that has come to life after the cold death of winter.  Bright orange carrots and pretty radishes freshly dug from the brown earth. All around me, visible signs of change, new beginnings, rebirth.

farmers market collage

cabbages

Today is Good Friday, the solemn day we remember the death of Jesus. But it is followed, like Spring follows Winter, with the greatest celebration in the Christian calendar- Easter, this Sunday. As we prepare to celebrate Christ's resurrection after His death,  we are reminded of our own resurrection after our life here on Earth is done. Reminded that our troubles, achievements and everything here in this life is only temporary- a passing mist, compared to our everlasting life to come.

The Jewish festival of Passover falls at the same time, and symbolically the two events are linked- Christians believe that Jesus Christ was sacrificed as the pascal lamb that was traditionally slaughtered for Passover. That Jesus, the son of God was crucified, accepting unbearable suffering so that each and every one on the earth, would be forgiven for our sins, and saved.He paid the price for our souls.

Of course, this does not mean that sin does not have consequences  What it means is that while we are here on Earth, we have the opportunity to confess our sins and avail of God's grace to "fix" ourselves and our lives, and resolve to sin no more. To put our past behind us, and start afresh.

Marin

Marin

As we celebrate new beginnings, there are going to be some major changes and new beginnings in my own life too. We have been considering this decision for a while, and it had become something we thought of as being inevitable, eventually, but somewhere at the back of our minds. Recently however, God aligned things to make this decision for us: We are moving to India! Soon, much sooner than we had initially planned.

I am very excited but honestly, equally anxious. There is SO much to do and I wish we had more time to do it. I dread my long to-do list, I dread the packing, the planning, the starting from scratch. I just want to hide and pretend that it will all take care of itself! There is furniture that will hopefully get sold, the letting go of so many things that I had accumulated and grown attached to. I hope this hard exercise is going to teach me to finally do something I strive to- to live simpler, to own less, to be less attached to mere things. Less to store and maintain, less to clutter and clean up after, less to carry around. Let's hope this resolution holds!

But in all this confusion, I feel God's hand guide us, helping me strike one more thing off my list, and then another. When I am anxious, I remember to surrender.

I am one of those people who hate change so it took me a while to get used to the very idea of the big move. I thought about everything I would miss. I will deeply miss our beloved farmer's market, the wonderful library, the long walks with my little man to the duck pond close by, the hills outside my window. I will crazily miss being only a short ride away from the cuisines of Argentina to Ethiopia and Vietnam and our regular barbecue picnics by China Camp State Park. Seeing my beloved Golden Gate shrouded by fog. I will dearly miss the friends we made here, and I know my little man will miss his friends here too.

Marin Farmer's Market

Marin Farmer's Market

Marin Farmer's Market

Another half of me though, is growing more and more excited by the day. Excited about meeting up with family and our dear old friends whom we haven't seen in too long a while. One of my favorite cousin's wedding is on the day after we land and I couldn't be more thrilled that it is one wedding we won't have to miss! Looking forward to being steeped in tradition, colour, and chaos! I look forward to experience the wonderful food of my home with fresh eyes and to learn more about Indian cooking while I also try to recreate the food I enjoyed here. I look forward to wandering around the busy, colorful and crowded markets there and drinking cutting chai by the road side. To enjoy sweet golden mangoes and mangosteens from my grandmother's garden.

Lots to look forward to, hopefully even more beautiful than the wonderful years we will be leaving behind.

This means that things might get a little quiet around here, as I force my self away from the laptop and wrap up some stuff, but I will be back soon with new stories! And I won't be able to stay away from  facebook or instagram or twitter and will probably be bombarding you with minutia leading up to the big fat move!

To all our friends here: I hate saying goodbye, so I won't. See you in South India my loves, let me be your tour guide!
To all the old friends we are meeting and the new friends I hope to make: I. Cannot. Wait.

Chicken in a pot

In celebration of Spring, while its still not very warm in most parts of the country, here is a one pot chicken dish adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours, which is very simple to make so is perfect if you are looking for an easy to throw together, yet dramatic Easter dish.

It makes the best of Spring veggies and you can drop in what ever you have on hand. Carrots, cabbage, caramelized shallots and garlic, everything is just sublime cooked along with the chicken. I had to experiment and add my own touch so added some lemons which add a wonderful tangy brightness and served with some couscous that readily soaked up the glorious chicken "gloop" as Dorie calls it.

chicken in a pot

This dish is a truly wonderful thing, way awesomer than the sum of its parts. Flavorful and bright from the lemon, it is a great way to finally welcome Spring! 

I pretty much followed Dorie's instructions that you can read on her blog here

Basically you take the biggest pot you have and heat some oil and sautee garlic,  and some shallots or onions and whatever vegetables you like- I just used some carrots
Then heat oil in a skillet and brown a whole chicken that has been patted down ( Remove the giblets and if you like, the skin as well- I did) and seasoned liberally with salt and pepper. No need to cut up the chicken, or you can use some chicken thighs instead of a whole chicken.
Place the chicken breast side down ( this I think is very important to avoid drying out the breast)  on to the veggies
Place wedges of cabbage and lemon as much as you can fit into your pot around the chicken.
Stir together a half a cup of wine, half a cup of olive oil and a cup of chicken broth ( or water mixed with bullion) and whatever herbs you like- I just used some dried oregano and thyme because I didn't have any fresh herbs,  and pour this over the chicken.
Then I just covered my pot with a tight lid, but Dories makes a paste to seal the lid, or suggests using foil to cover the pot tightly.
Bake for 70 mins in an oven that has been preheated to 450 F

As Dorie promises, the chicken bakes up to be fall apart tender and gosh so amazingly flavorful  The juices or "gloop" is definitely the best thing about this dish, and the couscous and cabbage that magically soaks up all this flavour gets finished off first! Seriously don't skip the cabbage even if you are a cabbage hater. It transforms into something truly amazing. And I definitely recommend adding the lemon-made the chicken taste tangy fresh and just perfect for Spring!

Reminder: There are only two more days left to enter the giveaway for a very useful straining saucepan by Gitadini  so don't forget to stop by and leave your entry if you haven't already! 

17 comments:

  1. What big news! Here's to wishing your family a safe move :) Perhaps we'll see each other one more time before you leave? :)

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  2. Oh wow, I didn't know it would be sooner rather than later. I'm sure it will be for the best. Gonna miss you and the little man. Let's plan a lunch before you go with all the ladies. Send me a couple dates that may work for you. That was such a fun day, so glad I could meet you two. Happy Easter to you and your family.
    -Gina-

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  4. Great post Rose! All the very best to you and your family as you make the big move back home.

    Best
    Simi

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  5. You know I have a mixed feeling about your move! We have to meet before you leave. And that chicken looks fantastic and lemon couscous is always a winner in my book.

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    1. I know so do I K! whole roller coaster of feelings!

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  6. I just found you via the Fabulous Food Bloggers Recipes share on Facebook, and I am SO GLAD I DID! I am very excited to follow your journey to India and see what God has in store for you. Many blessings!

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    1. Thanks so much Tiffany! You just made me very happy :)

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  7. Have a safe trip back home...we recently moved to a new single family home and the shifting n packing is no less even then...so happy packing n shifting :-)
    Been a silent reader and follower for a long time...your title with 'New beginnings' were similar to my last post, so I felt it would be a good reason to stop and say something :-)

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    1. So glad you spoke up today Manju! would love to hear from you more often :) Glad you are done with your move. Moving tips are more than welcome!

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  8. aww Rose while I understand your apprehensions there is so much magic to your move back home. It will be great for your adorable kid to be surrounded with close and extended family. You can always come back and visit. Also selfishly speaking I can't wait for you blogging from Southern India. Honestly I would be giddy with joy to follow you virtually everywhere you go! :)

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    1. You are so sweet Shulie! I am looking forward to getting all settled in back home and to start blogging from there! Definitely exciting!

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  9. Beautiful post Rose, I'm so happy for you but can't believe the move back to India is coming so soon! We have to get together;-)
    I'm thrilled you made a recipe from Dorie Greenspan, her Around My French Table cookbook is one of my most cherished sources for excellent recipes;-)
    A little late but a very Happy Easter to you!

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  10. Beautiful post! Excited for you and the way God is leading your adventures. Your chicken looks mouth-watering, perfect for spring!

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  11. Oh Rose! There's nothing better than to be surrounded by family and friends back home. And I can't wait to continue following your journey whenever you return to blogging, once settled. HEre's wishing you all the best!

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  12. I felt hungry when I saw the photo of chicken in pot. It looks so yummy!

    I hope you had a safe move.

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  13. Thanks for the share. Great stuff, just nice!
    Couscous recipes

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